The Latest Oil Painting Wasn't Boring After All

First go at color©DoraSislianThemelis

The latest oil painting is this still life. It's not my set up. This reference photo was sent when I signed on to do one of those free online painting party events. i decided to join in because I thought it would be good to experience something like this, brush up on Zoom, learn a new painting technique, try a different palette, maybe have a critique or two.

Like the previous painting party event, the instructor sends the suggested palatte colors, the size of the canvas, brush assortment, and the reference photo every one will be painting from. Cool.

The day came, I wasn't feeling it, I didn't bother. I printed out the reference, set it up on my easel, prepped the canvas, laid out the paints and brushes. Then nothing. I wasn't so sure the photo appealed to me. It didn't draw me in or give me motivation to capture the scene.

Many days later I sat at the set up just to observe. I felt some pulse of energy, chose a brush and doodled the scene. With raw umber thinned with walnut oil, and a filbert shaped brush, I drew on the canvas.

I planned the shadows and highlights, placed the items where I thought I'd like them to sit. It's ok to alter the reference, I thought to myself. And then I added other colors to the suggested palette, cadmium red medium, magenta and indigo, just for some edginess.     

The reference, the work, the palette ©Dora Sislian Themelis

When I began the color stage I began to really enjoy the scene. The colors made me happy, the shapes had a nice dynamic between them with the deep, dark background and shadows. The highlight at the one side was my perception of the reference photo and it worked well in the composition I think.

©Dora Sislian Themelis 20x16 oil on stretched canvas, The Pitcher
Available for purchase

Once I put my own stamp on this reference photo it began to speak to me. I just needed to find myself in  the work. The traditional style of the subjects, the pitcher and the apples, was far from what I'd been working on lately. Using colors I enjoy seeing and using made me feel comfortable, let's say I was at home. 

A scene I thought would be boring ended up being pretty exciting. 

Go figure..